July 12, 2023
Danny Morrow is a visionary in the field of product development, branding, and marketing, having worked with some of the biggest names in fashion, luxury, and technology. He is equally skilled in discussing technical and design details and strongly focuses on user-centric experiences. Danny has been instrumental in building the company from the ground up. He has architected the Extend platform, directed the development of the entire application stack, and led the integration with multiple virtual card platforms.
Danny:Watching and listening to those customers, making sure you're asking the rightquestions. Making sure you're really digging in. Of course, they may not alwaystell you exactly what they need, but by observing you can see it prettyclearly.
Julian: Heyeveryone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast. Todaywe have Danny Morrow, co-founder and CTO of Extend. Extend turns your Businesscredit card into a spend management platform so you can achieve more withwhat's yours. Danny, I'm so excited to chat with you, not only because of whatyou've been able to, do with Extend and what you've built so far, but alsojust.
The history of yourentrepreneur journey going from art to entrepreneurship and really just kind ofcreating all these opportunities to kinda see whether it's, insights intoproducts or user experiences. Really excited to chat with, your experience on,in how not only, you've created products, but how consumer behavior has evolvedand, and what you've done, during that process.
But before we getinto all that good stuff, what were you doing before you started thecompany?
Danny:Well, and even before then, thank you so much for having me on your podcast.Super excited, big fan. So prior to Extend, I had a consultancy in New Yorkbuilding products and all sorts of things, digital things for, mostly forconsumer luxury goods brands.
So this is actuallymy first dip into B2B and into payments my first rodeo there. But it's been asuper exciting journey.
And, and andthinking about like building for, consumers, how, what, have you seen thechanges in, in terms of the, the, like the buying behaviors? Have you had toadjust a lot or they're fairly sim similar or, or are there different variablesyou have to consider in that?
Danny:For those who don't know. Well, from my point of view, I think that's a bit ofthe secret sauce that I and Extend are bringing to the B2B space. Yeah. Isbringing a bit of that consumer experience into B2B products, which have reallyoften been kind of a bit lagging inexperience. And they're on your, they're onyour iPhone, they're on your desktop right next door to your Uber and to yourFacebook and what whatnot.
And it's a littleodd. That you would have this experience from the nineties in your B2B and thenall the modern bells and whistles in your consumer experiences. And so the waywe've built the team is really to try to bring that consumer ease of use totraditionally has been a very complicated set of products.
Julian:Yeah. And why is there that disconnect between those two types of products andthat, and that connection to the experience? Are, are companies building, forthe wrong purpose? Are they not looking at the right, pieces of feedback? Whyis that such a disconnect in those experiences?
Being that I thinknow, of course, more than ever, I think we're, we're kind of seeing that bleedinto every product. We have kind of a standard for our experiences, but, andwhy do companies get it wrong or, or, or aren't hitting it?
Danny: Ithink oftentimes they pile on requirements for b2b, B2B products, right?
And they say, oh,it has to have these 10 very complicated requirements, otherwise it's not a protool. Yeah. And I think what's missing there is actually no, people don't knownecessarily need all of those. And if, sometimes having more constraints canlead you to having a better product overall.
And I think we seethat time and again, but sometimes. Other folks as they're thinking about b2b,just try to overcomplicate it. It's the opposite of what we've tried to doquite obviously. We really try to make it as simple as as possible. Cause werecognize it's already a complex space. At the same time though, you can't makea toy, right?
It has to serve itspurpose and it really, you have to take your end users seriously. You justsometimes can't take a laundry list of features. You have to distill that downinto what's really the essence.
and how do youdistill the essence in, in respect to what's most valuable for the end user andhow to, create as minimal bears as possible for whatever action you're tryingto get out of them?
Danny:Well, I think it's all about actually talking to those users. There's no wayaround that. And I think, the farther the distance from the folks who aredesigning the product from those end users and the farther the distance fromthe engineers from those end users. The more problems you're gonna have.
And so how can youreally speak to your users as often as possible? Hear what they're saying, takeit seriously. My background is in product design from back in the day when thatmeant, not digital, but physical things. And all we learned was, you have toobserve and watch and talk.
You, you can't thinkthat you have the right answer. The users know the right answer.
Julian:That's so fascinating. Thinking about, it's the experiences taught you the, thetactics of observing and watching and, and through that kind of more physicalmedium. What were some things that you absorbed and still kind of used to thisday, what were some of those things that you saw people and, and how theyinteracted with, whether it was art or whether it was a product, what are somethings that you saw that that still, lasted in.
Danny: Ithink it's just listening, being empathetic. Mm-hmm. And really hearing whatpeople are saying. It can be difficult sometimes as any product designer or anyan engineer may have already a preconceived notion about what the right answeris. Right. Air quotes, right answer. Yeah. And so it really is about puttingthose preconceived notions, those biases aside.
Watching andlistening to, to those customers, making sure you're asking the rightquestions. Making sure you're really digging in. Of course, they may not alwaystell you exactly what they need, but by observing you can, you can see itpretty clearly.
With the, digitalproduct, like Extend, what are some of those things and, and how do, how areyou getting to your user to actually understand what they need out of yourproduct or what may you may need to build further on, or may the decisions youneed to make?
How do you distillthat information, actually extract the things that are important, versus goingso many directions, which a lot of founders, I think time and time again, Imean, we all have that where we want to chase. Certain product features and wehave to really take a step back to see what's important.
What are some, sometactics you deploy that to actually distill that information that'simportant?
Danny:Well, we, we always interview our clients and so as many end users as we canget, we want to interview, we'll talk to anyone and anyone who's gonnavolunteer that, or even folks who are having a problem.
That's a greatopportunity to turn someone around who's having an issue and to really diveinto what's the issue they're having? Is it actually the product or is it howthey're using the product? Is there a gap in our features or are theymisunderstanding? I think something that we're very heavily invested onrecently is education.
We recognize we'reeffectively part, we're not the only ones, but we're inventing a new producttype. Right? Yeah. The virtual card, a digital card is definitely new to manyfolks, and explaining to them both that basic concept and then the featuresthat we've built on top and expanded upon, we really need to educate our userbase.
So really, how doyou make that as simple as possible to come by both the product and theeducation? I think it's constant listening. We have our product folks havinginterviews, we have our sales teams that are supporting end users speaking tothem and advocating on their behalf. So it's really about just constantlygetting that feedback and that's what we aim for.
Julian:Yeah. I, I understand, I'm,
I'm sure a lot hasevolved from the conception of Extend to where it is now today, even,technologies, consumer behaviors. But, when you think back when, when you werekind of first, building the company and the product, How much, where was thespace at at that time, and how much were people actually adopting these digitalplatforms and using these digital products in comparison to, how it is now?
Are you, is the,have we seen that mass adoption or are we still kind of waiting for a lot morepeople to kind of get on on board?
Danny:Well, I think when it comes to virtual cards, especially in the B2B space, inthe commercial space, we were relatively early to the, to the product. And sowe've been in business for nearly seven years and not a lot of folks weretalking about virtual cards back then.
And I think what wethought about was it was gonna be all about, giving cards to employee uncaredemployees. And so did they have to take a trip? Did they have to go to aconference? Right? And so could we help pay for airfare, hotel conference,entrance fee, your taxi, your Uber, all of things that if someone didn't have acard, they were expensing and then waiting to get reimbursed.
And that on itsface is, Pretty ridiculous. Like you might lend your company a couple thousanddollars and you know they're good for it, but you still have to wait a coupleof weeks to get paid back. So that in itself is problematic and not a spacethat we've let go of. But of course we evolved because Covid came along and noone was traveling, no one's going to conferences.
And we were allsitting, alone in our houses, still working together, growing the team, buildingthe product. And we noticed that spend did not go down the way we expected. Itactually really amped up. That what we saw for our small businesses is thatthey need to solve a problem of tail spend, meaning spend that they didn't havean easy way to pay for it.
Maybe. I like tothink of it as I lodge my virtual cards in AWS and in GitHub and in Jira in anynumber of the SaaS tools I used to run our business. Now, if back in the daypre covid, everyone's sitting in an office, someone might have handed me a cardand I would've just keyed it in. But instead now, I had no way to do that.
And so we werecreating virtual cards to pay for those sorts of things and for allowing otherpeople to pay for those sorts of things. So really delegating that responsibility,and that's how our business really evolved. And when I think traditionally,virtual cards have been used by big enterprises paying invoices and one realbig use case.
And so we broughtthe power of virtual cards from enterprise size clients down to small SMBs. Sothat was the first thing that we did was just realizing actually just givingaccess, instant access, that alone is valuable. And that, in general, yeah, Ithink that's, FinTech is all about can I ease onboarding?
Can I reducefriction? The fact that we could take the physical plastic card that your bankhad already issued to you and allow you to enroll and Extend and create virtualcards, that was something that had never been done before. And then allow thesefolks to do that remotely while everyone separated during covid and pay for allthese expenses, their business was still incurring, was incredibly, incrediblypowerful.
And we've unlockeda whole number of other use cases that are really very interesting. But thatwas the first big aha moment. I think, for example, when we really started tosee that traction, even though we were expecting, oh no, we're in trouble. Noone's in an office, no one's traveling.
Julian:It's so fascinating thinking about the, that tail end spend and, and also just,not only do you reduce the friction of onboarding and access, but thatvisibility piece I feel like reduces the risk for even just having a virtualcard as a small business.
Because, I think alot of, small business owners will, will just assess the risk as if it's theirpersonal credit card and, and if you add an addition to that, it has, it, ithas, different effects than, than on your business. And describe some of the.Some of the really cool insights, I'm sure that you've offered customers nowthat they've had this ability.
And what have youseen them in terms of ways that they've changed their spend behaviors and anysuccess stories and what's that meant to their business?
Danny:Yeah, like you said there, there's a number of different benefits that virtualcards bring and different businesses, depending on what, what category they'rein, leverage different benefits, right?
And so there's theobvious benefit of I can create, an unlimited number of cards from my card andkeep, and really monitor the spend on each card, and control the spend on eachcard. To some businesses that's important. They may lodge a virtual card again,like I said, with AWS or with another vendor, and they wanna control how muchspend is going on.
That card. We havead agencies that buy, say Google ads or Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads for theirclients. So it's pass through spend and they want to cap how much spend is oneach ad buy. And we all know when you buy online ads, it's a pretty roughnumber, right? They, you can tell Google, you wanna spend 500, and they'relike, oops, we spent seven.
What, what do weknow? Sorry. And so with virtual cards, you, you can really control that very,very accurately. So that's incredibly valuable. Then beyond that, and I thinkthis is also has been eye-opening and a good learning for us, and I think wherethe industry is really going, it's all about reconciliation.
So how can I trackthe span that I had and that, like I said, a big learning for us. In thebeginning, we were just concerned with how can we get cards with controls inpeople's hands, and then very quickly our clients said, no, but I need to seewhere that spend happened. I need to reconcile it. I need to get it into myplatform of choice.
And so again, if Igo back to those ad agencies, or if you think of law firms who may wanna usevirtual cards to spend per client, they may have client filings they have tomake, and at any one time they have 10, 20, a hundred different clients thatthey're making court filings for or other, but paying for experts or othersorts of data, if they're all using the same card number, there's no way totrack that.
Now the controls ofvirtual cards are less important there, but the reconciliation to say, I made adifferent card potentially for each case or for each different client, and Iknow when that transaction comes back in for that client, I can easily billthem back for it. Yeah. Incredibly, incredibly powerful.
Right? And so, likeI said, it's a different type of feature of the virtual card that appearsappeals, excuse me, to different clients. And in some cases, they want to beable to track. Clients wanna track each individual transaction, and so they'regonna make a card for each individual transaction. Again, it may not beimportant to have the controls, but they do want to know transaction occurred.
I can map it andsee it instantly, right? And so when someone uses our APIs, they can create atremendous amount of virtual cards. They can use 'em for transactions, and ourwebhooks will tell them in real time transaction occurred. And the card turnsoff.
Julian:Yeah, I mean, the level of transparency I, I think is just so. Critical to, toa lot of these, crucial decisions. But also, I, I feel like procurements,spend, management, all these different categories are really so powerful nowthat not only after Covid, companies had to be resilient, but even witheconomic climate and VC funding rounds, You see a lot of companies being maturein the sense of really operating efficiently, and it's, it's incredibly seetools like you allowing that to even just be done in an effective timeline.
I'm sure you knowit, it was done at some point, but it was tracked and took way longer than itdoes through a platform like yours. But you're thinking about how.
When you did, kindof really push to go virtual and saw this kind of change in the market, how didyou introduce that to your customers?
How did you makethat introduction to the market? And I've, did you do a whole kind of productrelaunch? Was it kind of a slow release? I feel like a lot of founders, whenthey either have a more significant feature or even like a version change, theystruggle with deciding what's the best way to introduce that, to capitalize on,the momentum or the timing. What, what would you do?
Danny:Well, I think there, there's a really interesting part about our business thatwe haven't yet discussed in that we don't necessarily go to market on our own.Yeah, sure. Right, right. And so distinct from some other folks who, you know,who are maybe in the same space, who are working with modern credit cardissuance, who are dealing with virtual cards.
We always partnerwith mainstream banks. And so by doing that, we are just the technologyprovider. Again, we don't even underwrite anyone. We don't. We don't issue anycards. We don't move any money. And so, but the flip side of that as well isthat our partner banks are the ones advocating for the use of the product.
They're effectivelyselling the product. Right. In general, you don't think of a credit card as aproduct that, that n corporate buys. Right? Right. But they, they certainlyuse, and so in order for when we release new features, we, the sales teams atindividual banks that we're partnered with are telling their clients, Hey, bythe way, did you know.
There's this newfeature, they know which of their clients have been asking for this. And theyknow we provide 'em with data and they know which of their clients might needthis without asking first. Right. And so we really help and support theseexisting banks with a whole new feature set, and that's very, very powerful.
But it means ingeneral, we're not the ones doing the first reach out to clients. If thosebanks, yeah, and those banks, they may be. Depending on the size of the bankand the size of their relationship, they may be sending an email out to theirclient base saying, Hey, by the way, did you know that with X Extend, you cando this with your existing card?
Much like you wouldthink of Apple Pay with marketing. Yeah. Or they may be doing a direct reachout. Right. For larger clients, they're gonna have a, a relationship managerwho's gonna support them and, they probably speak if it's monthly or weekly,say, Hey, there's a new feature here. I know you've been asking about virtualcards.
Now we're ready. OrI know you're always talking about this and you're having these challenges.Here's a way you could solve that. And it makes the bank look really, reallysmart. And that's really the business that we're in. We're not looking out tomake a brand for ourselves. We're looking just how can we support theseexisting banks and being that infrastructure behind the scenes.
Julian:Yeah. And how do you communicate that? Obviously that initial partnershipalways kind of trickles down and creates. Other ones as well, but when you arecommunicating you're value to a new partnership, what are some tactics or talkchecks that you use to really, obviously you're a service company, you haveyour own incentive, but really you do supercharge the banks to, to beintelligent and, and offer.
Their clientsomething more, through this. How do you, how are you able to communicate thatand partner with, banks to, to be able to do that? Cause obviously that's like,I mean, that's creme de la creme for, for, client new customer acquisition isto have a partner that sells for you.
Danny:Yes. Well, I, I think the first thing is that, We, and I use the Royal we hereas I started from the top, I don't come from payments or cards, but we have a,my two partners both are, ex Amex alumni and other have been around the paymentspace for quite some time, and we've built our team actually fairly senior withpeople from the card payment space because so much of that is relationshipbased when you're doing these large B2B enterprise sales, which any bank saleis going to be.
And so there's thattrust in the marketplace that we've earned over seven years and prior, becauseit's based on relationships going back 20, 20 years, tens of years what I wasgonna say. And so that's important to leverage that. And then it's a reallyrelatively straightforward talk track of a sale because at the end of the day,we're making the bank more money.
Yeah. Every time. Abank, one of its card holders uses its credit card. The bank makes money, it makesthat interchange the issuing bank, and we allow more credit card volume to flowto that bank and so they make more money. So that's, that part is an easystory. Yeah. Then about how does it align with what they're thinking abouttoday and how, how's it line with how they see the market, what products theywant to bring to the market.
But overall, Ithink it's a very straight line. We make money when they make money. And so itworks out quite well.
So, customeracquisition, that, that seems to be, humming at, at a steady pace. You'veraised money, you, you're growing your team. You, you feel like you have strongproduct, market fit.
What's thechallenge then, now, what are the things that you're facing today that you seeas, hurdles that your company still has to go over to, to continue toexpand?
Danny:Well, I'm, yeah, I mean, we're, we're a series B company. We have productmarket fit, we are growing and the challenges are all about how do you continuethat growth, right?
Yeah. It doesn'tcome easy. And so it's about to continue the piece of growth that we want tosee, and it's continuing it in tougher economic climates. Companies, like youmentioned, are looking at their spend. We are directly impacted. We make moneyon how much money companies spend, so that's always an important thing to keepan eye on.
And there's broadermacroeconomic trends. Just make it less easy than it was perhaps a year and ahalf ago. And I think that's all great. I think we've always run our businessin a very mature fashion. We weren't about, acquiring customers at any cost. Weweren't about, spending money just cuz we had, raised a big round.
We, we've been verymature about that, but what we hear in the market now is it's important to makeyour funds go farther. Yeah. Yeah. And so that's, that's part of looking veryclosely at, where do our revenues come from? Obviously we need to continuereally strong revenue growth and keep pushing that and thinking about, okay,what.
Tweaks on our product,can I make that are gonna add new sources of revenue? What new features can Iadd? And really, again, going back to listening to the customer, hearing whattheir challenges are and how can we make our product more sticky So they wannakeep using it even these challenging times.
Thinking about long-term vision, if everythinggoes well, what is the long-term vision for Faith Extend?
Danny:So I think, there, there are multiple versions of the long-term vision. I thinkthe nearest term, long term, if you will, is we like to see ourselvespotentially like a Zelle, if you're familiar with that.
Right? So there wasan existential crisis that PayPal and Venmo were taking away business thattruly rightfully belonged to Main Street banks. And so they formed a consortiumand built a product that has, many trillions of dollars flowing through it. Wesee ourselves as the same. Can we provide a product or a platform, excuse me,that's used jointly by many different banks, so, To really grow their ownrevenue.
That's our nearestterm, long-term vision and just be ubiquitous. And again, not concerned aboutis the brand Extend there, but in the back is, is the plumbing and the wires isthat Extend? Yeah, and I think we've already gone well down that path rightnow. I, I think at last count we're over 50% of commercial card holders canactually use Extend.
But we'd like topush that to be, significantly higher. 60, 70, 80%. And you've, there's a very,very long tail in the us There are a huge number of banks. Yeah. But we'dreally like to get to a point where we could really have that great coverage.Yeah. I think beyond that, we certainly eventually would like to turn ourattention to consumer.
I think everythingwe do with virtual cards today for commercial spend, so much of that can makesense for a family. Do you have a caregiver that you want to give a card to sothat they can take care of your children? Do you have your children themselvespotentially who are in college age or younger, who you'd like to have controlover what their spend and see, their individual transactions, but still givethem a credit card?
Do you wanna, Sendcross-border payments, potentially. A lot of cross-border payments today arebeing used for things like electric bills and cell phone bills that would alreadyaccept a credit card. Yeah. Could you send a card number that would, someonewould lodge and then pay for that? So it kind of really starts to evolve thereonce you get in consumer as well.
Yeah. But you know,the first and foremost we're, we're heavily focused on commercial and seeinghow that growth goes because there's still so much of the market to tap.
Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I love this next section. I call it my founder faq. So I'm gonnahit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll see what we get.
So, first questionI always like to open it up with is,
what's particularlyhard about your
Danny:job day to day?
It takes a lot ofattention and it takes a, I think it's both the, the, a pro and a con. It'salways something different every day, and it's kept it fresh every day. And so,seven years in it, it certainly keep blowing, keep learning, keep growing.
But that certainly,there's a lot of work to be done there.
Julian:Yeah. What's something, when you think about,
obviously hiringis, is so key to a lot of success of, of, of companies probably paramount to,to any successful company. Mm-hmm. What are some ways, or maybe even somelessons you've learned about hiring good talent, assessing good talent,bringing people on board that can really kind of propel your team?
Obviously, soundslike you built a team around, the financial industry being that, it, it is soclosely related, but, outside of that, how, how do you go about that assessmentfor founders who are looking for that guidance?
Danny:Right. And, and I would say, we've built around the financial industry for ourrelationship, for our business development, for our sales teams, for ourengineering team.
We've taken folksfrom all walks of life. We actually don't really have too many folks who'vebeen at a bank or, doing payments before because we believe it's important tobring strong engineering, to the table. Doesn't really matter if you have the,the experience at this specific domain, we can teach you that.
Right. Same thing.I, I learned it. Joining Extend I think is something everyone can learn. Yeah.I think the real key that we've done is we built a really strong foundationhiring very slowly in the beginning, in the early days to make sure that we reallyhad that strong foundation of people who believed in Extend and who believedwhat we believed.
And so it's allabout curiosity. It's all about empowering people to keep learning and growingand allowing them to do their best work. Cause I think if you have curiouspeople who wanna do their best work and you give them challenging problems,They're just gonna run to it. Right. That's nothing. Makes them happier.
And then once youhave that foundation, and, and we skewed towards, more senior engineers at thatpoint, we're talking about engineering, and then we filled in the more juniorranks mostly with co-op programs. And so we have a very strong relationshipwith Waterloo University in Toronto. Yeah.
And so we, theyhave a co-op program and the engineers that we get have, they come stay with usfor about four months. And then, and by the time they've already come to us,they've probably had three or four of those four month co-ops under their belt.So they're already a year in and they're super sharp.
And we just get to,we throw them in, we limit, your typical internship experience. We give them,no, you're an employee of Extend, you're gonna learn, you're gonna build allthe real things. And that gives us a chance to meet tons of folks and see who'sgonna be that right fit. And then we, we've just hired extensively from thepeople that we love.
And then as, andwe've grown the junior ranks that way, again, with the same mentality. We knowthat people wanna learn, people wanna grow, people are curious, people wanna besupportive. And so that's just, if we give them those opportunities, theyreally come running. I, I've also, leaned very heavily on, kind of, everyone'sgotta be a good person.
So I'm really,really proud of the team that we've built. A bunch of really curious, supersmart folks, but they're also, I love being around them all. And then that kindof self-perpetuates at this point, I'm not doing the hiring anymore. I'm thethe last stamp of approval. I'm the one who gets to sell extent when we have areally strong client that we have to convince.
But I know the teamis looking out and really it's the beauty of it. They're following our visionand they're making it their own.
What are somethings that you've learned in, that have helped your success at Extend, in, inregards to, is it resources, a piece of technology, mentorship, advisors,network, what's been a a, what's been a recipe for your success so far?
Danny:Well, well certainly a big believer in surrounding yourself with people who aremuch smarter than you. That, that is certainly something that is incrediblyimportant. I think you, you want people who are super smart, super driven, butlike I said, they're, they're humble, that they're friendly, good to be around,but I certainly have no interest in being the smartest person in the room.
And I thinkpatience, I think most founders are by definition, impatient. They want it tomove faster. We always try push, push, push, push, push. And I think especiallyin the business we're in, there's been a certain amount of, if you'repartnering with banks, Certainly the upside is they find you all their clients.
The downside isthey move slower than you might hope. And so just learning that patience andkeep pushing forward, keep believing and, and knowing that we're all going inthe right direction has certainly been a good lesson for me.
What's a contrarianview that, that you have that maybe most would disagree with, if anything?
Danny: Iwas not a big, big believer in crypto, so I think at the moment, that lookssmart. Tell me again in five years. But that felt I was not a believer in thatone. So we'll stick that, that'll be my answer there.
Julian: Ilove it. I love it. I love it. I. We think about, the, the, the journey, and,and building companies.
Obviously you'vehad a wealth of experience with Extend so far. Is there anything you miss aboutthe early days of, of, building that you don't get to maybe work on or asresponsible for nowadays? Anything come to mind?
Danny:Yeah, for sure. I mean, in the early days I was writing code Building Extend.
I built theoriginal prototypes. I built, the product that we sold to our earliestinvestors. I love that part. And nothing is more satisfying than writing codecoming up to a problem and solving it. And even you're alone in your room.You're like, who? Right. Nothing beats that rush.
But I would alsoargue that nothing beats the rush of, I would say, walking into our office andseeing all the people who are working on this product that the three offounders dreamed up seven years ago, and seeing all these people who believe init, and it's a real thing. It's not a dream anymore.
Th that is trulyinspiring to me. And it makes me feel good every day. So I'm happy to havetraded that and I'm sure in the next three years there'll be more trades. Ithink, like I said, constantly learning, constantly doing something new, keepgrowing yourself, keep growing. The team is incredibly powerful, so it's aworthwhile trade off.
Julian:Yeah. And, and you, you have a hybrid team now post Covid, right? If, if Iremember correctly,
Danny:well, even, even pre covid, so, okay. Okay. We, we have folks spread around theentire us. Our employee number one was something someone I'd worked withextensively prior to Extend. And the story I like to say is, he and I workedtogether, I think three or four years prior to Extend.
We had never met inreal life. He lives, he lives in la I live in New York. We worked, pre Slack,we would have HipChat, if you remember HipChat from Atlassian. We would, wewould turn the audit, turn the video off, and we would just chat and talk allday. While we were working, we hired him. I'd never met him in real life untilafter we had hired him.
And so, and sincethen I, for the right people being remote, no problem at all. You can reallyget incredible work out of folks like that. And I mean, for myself, I wasmostly remote for my clients. For a tremendously amount of long time. So I knewthat worked. Yeah. But then we also know the value of being together in aspace, being co-located, really being able to, to, bang on ideas with eachother, being able to be inspired by each other and building those bonds.
So we have, yeah, ahybrid approach in which we have a good portion of the team is spread aroundthe US and then a large bit is also in New York.
How do you manageculture like that, being that, it's, it's kind of half and half, or do you kindof. Have different activities. Do you, what, what do you do with, being thatit's such a different experience, how do you bring those experiences togetheror acknowledge the, the differences between them? I, I'm so curious.
Danny:Well, so it was because it was from day one, I think it's something that we'vealways learned. It wasn't something that we had to learn as a result of thepandemic, so that made it significantly easier. But it's about beingintentional. It's about, and thoughtful, right? You have to think, okay, Iremember that these people are not here with me.
I have to make sureto include them. I have to make sure that when we're having. A meeting thateveryone's cameras are on and we're all talking and addressing everyone. Soit's not that you have a set of people in a room and all the remote folks arenot included, that's for work. Yeah. Yeah. I think then for the culture and thesocializing, we just, I mean, we have a tremendously strong Slack culture.
I think we have a,a lot of ridiculous humor and memes bouncing around slack all day long. We,early on, again, dipping back into Covid was, we would have happy hours once aweek and we started with regular games that you could find online and wequickly burned through those and decided that we needed to make up our owngames.
We have a lot ofvery creative people on our team, and so we, and we continue that because thoseare some of the most fun games that we, we've done. And so I think that if youmake something up custom. You can include everyone all you want. And I, I goback again thinking, as an inspiration, my favorite game that we played ever,we all just took pictures of our fridge, we opened our fridge, took a picture,and we all had to get, together.
We had to guesswhose fridge was who. And it's just, that's a great game. Very similar,ridiculous ideas. It's just that builds like culture and camaraderie. But then,and you go back again to what I was saying before. Everyone that we bring on, we,we make sure that we feel like, they know how to be nice, be friendly, right?
We don't have to befriends with everyone, but we wanna make sure, I think we're, we're very agroup of people who really bond together. And so as long as you push that, thenwe have, we haven't had any issues with that balance between remote and inperson.
Julian:Yeah. For those remote employees, I'm, wondering, I've talked to some foundersrecently, how do you support.
Programs outside ofwork in, in, in support because we're, we're not, everyone's life should beinvolved in, in work. And, it, it's not helpful for necessarily work-lifebalance and all the health, outcomes. We've, we've now come to realize areindustrial age, but but you know, how do you think about, sponsoring programsor just like, giving them, offering them value outside of work?
Do you all thinkabout that or. Or do you, what is your philosophy around how much work to beinvolved in someone's, everyday life?
Danny:Right. Well, I think, as I mentioned, we aim to hire people who are curious andwanna keep learning. And so, and again, if we, if we offer them learningexperiences while they're working, let give them the opportunity to dotechnology, they haven't done some problems they haven't done, that's veryfulfilling.
If we can alsoprovide opportunities to keep learning outside of work. That's great. So ifpeople wanna go to conferences to learn something, they already to, to growtheir network and where they're already experts. If they wanna take classes andlearn something, they actually don't feel comfortable or want to expand theirknowledge.
Also. Good.Something that we support. Right. And just in general, if people have ideas,I'm doing this for community service, I have something that I'm passionateabout, they know it's a safe space again, to say, Hey, by the way, entirecompany, this is something that's important to me. Who would like to beinvolved?
So I think if youcreate that environment, then people just, can feel comfortable with reallypushing for what they value. And that's what's important to us. At the end ofthe day, you're, you're right, we, this is not only about work, this is aboutpeople and it's about growing people and letting them continue to, to learn andevolve.
Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Thinking about what,
what's had alasting impact in your career and your life, what are some books or peoplewho've, truly had a lasting I impact, for you as a founder, anything that youcould share with the audience?
Danny:It's a very good question. I, I would say everything I do is for my family, soslightly different approach than maybe what you're looking for. But I have two,two wonderful kids and my wife and everything that I do is, is for them. Sothey certainly push me to do my best. And I think overall my team members allinspire me, pretty daily.
Again, going backto, to seeing what inspires them, seeing what energizes them. And so I really,I take a lot of value out of that.
If you weren't working on Extend, what wouldyou be doing? Any other product, any other interesting industry outside of whatyou're doing now?
Danny:That is a very good question.
It's I'm certainlyall in at the moment, so I, I don't let my mind wander there. I've been, I'vebeen a musician for quite a long time, so I certainly would dream of at somepoint, actually doing something more along those lines. I also love workingwith my hands, so there's something, very rewarding about building digital cuzyou can build things fast and iterate fast, but there's something veryrewarding also about making physical things and there it is, and you can holdit and look at it and get it just right.
So maybe some ofthose two things.
Julian: Yeah.I love that. Danny, it's been such a pleasure asking you all these questions,hearing your feedback, talking about your experiences, listening to youropinions and perspectives. Last little bit before we end the show, is thereanything we left on the table? Any question I didn't ask you that I shouldhave?
Danny: Ithink we covered quite a bit. I, I think, really you, you've do dove into whatit make Extend different, maybe just to reiterate that Of course, I think ourmain, main. Selling point here is that, our partnership with banks is whatdifferentiates us from everyone else.
And so, that'swhat's pushed us forward in the market and I think at the end of the day we're,we're really seeing a lot of growth outta that. So, super excited.
Julian:Amazing. Danny, it's been such a pleasure having you on the show.
Last little bit is where can we find you? Giveus our audience, your, your Facebooks, your Twitters, whatever you, wherever wecan find and, and be a supporter, but also hear your ideas and, and share withyour success.
Where can we findyou?
Danny:Yeah, I would say mostly I live on LinkedIn, so that's certainly easy to findme there. If you search Danny Morrow, Extend, that's where I'm b. Busy sharingmy thoughts about the industry and about Extend.
Julian:Amazing. Danny, it's been such a pleasure having you on the show. Thank youagain for being on Behind company Lines today.
Danny: Apleasure. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure.